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Humans We Heart: Writer Imani Mixon

When we learned about our store opening in Detroit, we knew we had to meet up with local writer Imani Mixon. Born and bred in the city, she’s proud of her hometown and is all about celebrating it. Get to know the journalist/poet/DJ below (writers’ block solves and go-to reads included), plus check out a special city guide with some of Imani’s favorite places to hang.

Tell us about yourself! What do you do, where do you live?

I’m a Detroit-based and embraced writer. I report on neighborhood change and creative independence and write poems as often as possible. I live in the historic Cass Corridor (recently rebranded as Midtown). It feels like a small town in a big city. I love that I can’t walk down the block without running into a friend.

Let’s talk go-tos…

Coffee order: Cinnamon dolce latte
Outfit: A funky jumpsuit and big hoops
Album/playlist: I’m a DJ, so every day gets a soundtrack. I love making and sharing playlists.

So much of the work you do is centered around the community in Detroit. What makes it such a special place to you?

I was born and raised here and returned after going away to study journalism. Detroit is a proud place and I’ve got a support system here that spans generations. I want every good thing that happens to me to happen here. Plus, I wholeheartedly believe that this city consistently produces the most talented people in the world. Diana, Aretha and Aaliyah?! That’s not a coincidence.

What are some projects you’ve been working on recently?

I interview people pretty frequently as a freelance writer and podcast producer. I’m honored when people share their dreams, struggles, wishes and obstacles with me. I’m also unsatisfied with how certain voices are privileged over others. Over the last few months, I’ve invited some of the most creative people in Detroit (who also happen to be my homies) into my living room for one-on-one, in-depth conversations for a new video series called Proper Nouns.

Any tips for avoiding the dreaded writer’s block?

My best ideas come when I’m far away from my desk and far away from a deadline. Quality time with people who love and understand me is always inspiring—but so is uninterrupted alone time. I say put your pens, pencils and books down. Light a candle and play your favorite song.

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It’s always fun to know what writers are reading—got any interesting books on your nightstand right now?

Oh yes, I’m hopelessly devoted to women writers and authors of color so Clarissa Pinkola Estés’ Women Who Run with the Wolves, bell hooks’ All About Love: New Visions, Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing and Alice Walker’s The Temple of My Familiar top my list.

What do you do to recharge and stay motivated?

I’m still coming up with the ultimate self-care recipe to keep me grounded and inspired, but I know collaging, reading, writing, meditating and dancing to live music are involved. I have a pretty tight circle of girlfriends sprawled throughout the country, so any time I can spend real, honest time with them I’m happy. I’m eternally grateful for my boyfriend who knows how much I love a random weekday adventure or a good venting session.

And finally, since this is our Humans We Heart series—is there an inspiring person in your life you’d like to shout out?

I’ve had a hard time looking up to influencers and celebrities lately—so much is done for show and stamps of approval. The one person I can vouch for from head to toe, from then to now, is my 17-year-old sister Nia. I prayed for her, I named her and she’s grown fuller and brighter than anyone I know. I hope to be just as lovely as my baby sister. She’s a scholar, an angel and a genius.

Thanks for the chat, Imani. Get to know more of our favorite people in past interviews.